Horner is very confident that Ferrari can make engine power gains, and suspects the Italians will be fielding a monster this Formula 1 season. The Red Bull team boss believes that Ferrari will be able to make serious progress in terms of engine power this season due to the reliability problems that plagued the team last year which he expects they have ironed out.
Although the development of power units in F1 has been frozen in order to control costs and give engine manufacturers time to prepare for the arrival of a new engine in 2026, Red Bull boss Christian Horner expects Ferrari to take a step forward in terms of engine performance this season.
Power unit freeze doesn’t apply
This power unit freeze concerns the internal combustion engine, turbo, MGU-H, exhaust system and engine oil specifications as well as fuels. However, the MGU-K, battery and electronics could still be modified until 1 September 2022. After September 1, no more changes were allowed unless a special dispensation was granted to allow an engine manufacturer that was too far behind the others to catch up.
But as always in Formula One, there are some exceptions to the rules, mainly to allow engine manufacturers to resolve design issues that affect the safety or reliability of the power units.
In the event that an engine builder needs to make changes to his engine for either of these reasons (safety or reliability), a strict procedure must be followed. An engine manufacturer wishing to make modifications must submit a written request to the FIA Technical Department, setting out the precise reasons for the request.
In addition to a detailed explanation, the manufacturer must include evidence describing the research into the problem and how they have proved that the change will correct it.
Against this backdrop, and with Scuderia Ferrari experiencing reliability problems last year, Horner expects to see significant progress in terms of engine performance from the Maranello side, which will certainly have taken advantage of its reliability concerns in 2022 to make a significant upgrade to its 2023 power unit.
“In theory, no one can gain much horsepower anymore, but Ferrari had reliability problems last season. If they have solved those problems, they can get more out of the engine this year,” the Red Bull team boss said in a podcast for AMUS.
“That will inevitably lead to progress for Ferrari. I think Ferrari have a lot more margin, so we have to take that into account.”
“We all saw how they reduced engine power last year after their reliability issues. So we know they have the ability to increase that engine power.”
“We too had engine reliability problems last year, but not to the same extent as Ferrari.”
Ferrari finished second in the constructors’ championship last year, 205 points behind Red Bull Racing.